KidsDoc Monthly Newsletter from AllForKids

By Dr. M.Vijayalakshmi M.D(Peds), M.D(USA), FAAP, DAA
Content Sources: CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics

Confused by the Vaccine Schedules, all the combinations and their names? Please check the article about Vaccine Options available in India at http://www.allforkidsindia.com/allforkids/Resources/VaccineOptions.aspx

To know more about essential vitamins and minerals your child’s body needs please take a quiz at http://www.allforkidsindia.com/allforkids/Vitamins_and_minerals_Quiz/index.aspx

Here are some suggestions that you as parents can do to help your children to be properly vaccinated and protected:

Why Folic Acid is So Important in having a healthy baby

What is folic acid?

Folic acid is a B vitamin. Our bodies use it to make new cells. Everyone needs folic acid. But for women who can get pregnant, it is really important! If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before she is pregnant, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain and spine. These birth defects are neural tube defects or NTDs. Women need to take folic acid every day, starting before they are pregnant to help prevent NTDs.

CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service urges every woman who could become pregnant to get 400 micrograms (400 mcg) of synthetic folic acid every day.

How much is enough?

One easy way a woman can be sure she is getting enough folic acid is to take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day. Another way to get enough is to eat a serving of breakfast cereal every day that has been enriched with 100% of the daily value of folic acid. Not every cereal has this amount.

Disease Focus – Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world including India, Typhoid affects about 21.5 million persons each year across the world. Typhoid fever can be prevented and can usually be treated with antibiotics.

How is typhoid fever spread?

Salmonella Typhi lives only in humans. Persons with typhoid fever carry the bacteria in their bloodstream and intestinal tract. In addition, a small number of persons, called carriers, recover from typhoid fever but continue to carry the bacteria. Both ill persons and carriers shed S. Typhi in their feces (stool).

You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding S. Typhi or if sewage contaminated with S. Typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food. Therefore, typhoid fever is more common in areas of the world where hand-washing is less frequent and water is likely to be contaminated with sewage. Once S. Typhi bacteria are eaten or drunk, they multiply and spread into the bloodstream. The body reacts with fever and other signs and symptoms.

How can you avoid typhoid fever?

Two basic actions can protect you from typhoid fever:

  • Avoid risky foods and drinks.
  • Get vaccinated against typhoid fever.
  • If you drink water, buy it bottled or bring it to a rolling boil for 1 minute before you drink it. Bottled carbonated water is safer than uncarbonated water.
  • Ask for drinks without ice unless the ice is made from bottled or boiled water. Avoid popsicles and flavored ices that may have been made with contaminated water.
  • Eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and that are still hot and steaming.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled. Vegetables like lettuce are easily contaminated and are very hard to wash well.
  • When you eat raw fruit or vegetables that can be peeled, peel them yourself. (Wash your hands with soap first.) Do not eat the peelings.
  • Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors. It is difficult for food to be kept clean on the street, and many travelers get sick from food bought from street vendors.
Getting vaccinated

If you are traveling to a country or an area where typhoid is common, you should consider being vaccinated against typhoid.

Remember that you will need to complete your vaccination at least 1 week before you travel so that the vaccine has time to take effect. Typhoid vaccines lose effectiveness after several years; if you were vaccinated in the past, check with your doctor to see if it is time for a booster vaccination. Taking antibiotics will not prevent typhoid fever; they only help treat it.

What are the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever?

Persons with typhoid fever usually have a sustained fever as high as 103° to 104° F (39° to 40° C). They may also feel weak, or have stomach pains, headache, or loss of appetite. In some cases, patients have a rash of flat, rose-colored spots. The only way to know for sure if an illness is typhoid fever is to have samples of stool or blood tested for the presence of S. Typhi .

Quick Tips

Drink Up

  • Water makes up more than half of kids’ body weight and is needed to keep all parts of the body functioning properly.
  • There is no specific amount of water recommended for children, but it’s a good idea to give them water throughout the day — not just when they’re thirsty.
  • Babies generally don’t need water during the first year of life.
  • If your child doesn’t like the taste of water, add a bit of lemon or lime for flavor.
  • Fruits and veggies are also good sources of water.
  • Kids should drink more water when ill like having a fever, when it’s hot out, or when engaged in physical activity.
How can I keep my child from getting the flu?

People with the flu are most infectious during the 24-hour period before symptoms appear and also on the days when the symptoms are at their worst.

Good hygiene and regular housecleaning are the best ways to prevent the flu from spreading. The following are more ways to help prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue. If you don’t have time to get a tissue, bend your arm and sneeze or cough into it. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Use tissues or towels for wiping runny noses and to catch sneezes. Throw tissues in the trash after each use. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing frequently.
  • Avoid kissing your child on or around the mouth or face when either of you are ill.
  • Make sure everyone washes their hands before and after coming into close contact with someone with the flu. Everyone should wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds
  • Don’t let children share pacifiers, cups, spoons, forks, washcloths, or towels.
  • Wash dishes, forks, and spoons in hot, soapy water or the dishwasher.
  • Change cloth towels often and wash them in hot water.
  • Wipe all surfaces, including toys, with a disinfectant or soap and hot water. Viruses can live for more than 30 minutes on doorknobs, toilet handles, countertops, and even toys.
Get Vaccinated

Annual influenza immunization is recommended for all in the us, it is specially beneficial for patients with asthma, bronchitis, chronic renal disease, diabetes

Healthy children aged 6 months through 18 years

Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children with high-risk conditions and of all healthy children younger than 5 years

For children younger than 9 years who have never before been vaccinated, 2 doses of vaccine, given at least 1 month apart, are required to provide adequate protection against the flu. After that, only 1 dose of vaccine is needed each year. Children younger than 9 years who were immunized for the first time last flu season, but only received 1 dose of vaccine, will need 2 doses this flu season.

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